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Old 06-12-2014, 06:47 PM
 
Location: U.S.A., Earth
4,507 posts, read 2,889,309 times
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SFH vs. condos vs. renting pretty much boils down to your age, point in your career, family situation (single, married, with kids), what area you're in. If you don't do your research in any of them, you can get burned.

If some metropolitan or dense areas, SFH are either non-existent or uber-expensive. Some people need the flexibility of leaving an area, so renting is good for them (ie. those in the military and get deployed all over). Some really do enjoy having a lawn, complete freedom to do the renovations they want, and higher resale value.

I ended up going with a condo since
1) I don't like to mow lawns. What am I going to do, build a model plane? Roll around in it and dig up worms? I don't have kids either.
2) something breaks inside the walls, it's on the Condo association to fix it.
3) I don't care for customizing the exterior
... eh, too many to list really, but that's just my preferences.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:25 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,844 posts, read 19,943,516 times
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Keep in mind that 'condo' is a type of ownership, not a type of structure.
My SFH is in a condominium structured community.
Almost all the benefits and all the responsibilities are the same as a detached single family house anywhere.
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Old 06-13-2014, 06:16 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,950,422 times
Reputation: 6717
Quote:
Originally Posted by ackmondual View Post
...
2) something breaks inside the walls, it's on the Condo association to fix it.
People should check the laws in various states about what maintenance/repair obligations an association has - and what the owners' obligations are. They vary. And - here in Florida - the legislature changes the boundaries from time to time. Robyn
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Glenbogle
730 posts, read 1,028,973 times
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Just out of curiosity I did a search of the MLSLI (multiple listing service of Long Island) in the category of "Condo/HOA".

The most expensive listing is for this 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath condo in the waterfront village of Port Washington. Yearly property taxes $50,920. Common charges $3431. Listing price: $3,000,000
433 Main St, Port Washington, NY 11050 | Listing Information | MLSLI.com - Long Island Real Estate

The least expensive listing is for this 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in Manorville, in a 55+ community. Property taxes $2100/yr. Common charges $1014. Listing price $19,900.
171 Village Circle W, Manorville, NY 11949 | Listing Information | MLSLI.com - Long Island Real Estate

That listing only has 2 exterior photos so no idea what the interior is like; however the next least expensive listing is in that same community and does have photos (looks like either the same or a slightly larger one). Taxes $2400, maintenance $1045. Asking $24,900
http://www.mlsli.com/homes-for-sale/...d-Ln-116154942

There are more than 20 of these SFH condos currently listed for sale in that particular development (looks like the rats leaving a sinking ship, lol). Frankly they all look terribly depressing.

Many (perhaps even most) of the condos for sale are in communities that are regarded as "iffy", desirability-wise (if not downright undesirable).

Here's what you can get for $169,000 (2 br, 1 bath), $5000/yr property taxes and $250 common charges (55+ community)
193 Canterbury Dr, Ridge, NY 11961 | Listing Information | MLSLI.com - Long Island Real Estate

Here's one that's not bad (if not for the flooding risk in that area): 1500 sq ft, 2 br/2bath for $175,000. $7500 taxes, $1459 common charges. Clearly these are for someone who doesn't like to cook, though: It's got what's described as an "efficiency kitchen", LOL. My mom used to use that term for a hotplate, sink and a mini-fridge. ;-)
2 Richmond Rd, Lido Beach, NY 11561 | Listing Information | MLSLI.com - Long Island Real Estate
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:38 AM
 
Location: SoCal
6,075 posts, read 9,545,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longford View Post
... Prospective buyers always have the right, before closing the sale, to examine the books and records of an association and to ask questions about the financial condition of a building, including about proposed special assessments, reserve fund balances, units in arrears, for a current financial statement. My experience has been that maybe 5% of the buyers in our building ask for or review such financial information before closing. We also require a sit-down session with prospective buyers ... to explain life in the building, the rules and regulations, and things which aren't covered by the rules and regulations but which are important to know when sharing a building with other people. "Good Neighbor" things. We find that people behave better when they know what's expected of them. We don't dote over people or harass them needlessly, but we do enforce our rules for the most part and 'bad actors' are quickly identified and if they don't mend their ways we do our best to bring them in line with community/Good Neighbor standards for the benefit not only of them, but their neighbors.
My mom's condo association in Illinois did a lot of this. When I proposed it to our condo association in California, I was told by the association lawyer that it would violate a bunch of laws - apparently in California the notion that "a man's home is his castle" still holds sway even when it comes to condos. It's also, from what I've heard, quite difficult to get to look at the books and records even after one has bought a condo. Shouldn't be, but apparently is.
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:52 AM
 
29,815 posts, read 34,907,142 times
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A number of us bought condo's as second homes at big discounts to what others had paid a few years earlier. This creates tiered equity/underwater levels within the community. Depending on where and the future of the economy. In many places prices have and are rebounding as a large segment of the country is prospering and if in a popular area things are getting better.
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:57 AM
 
741 posts, read 642,464 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddstray View Post
My mom's condo association in Illinois did a lot of this. When I proposed it to our condo association in California, I was told by the association lawyer that it would violate a bunch of laws - apparently in California the notion that "a man's home is his castle" still holds sway even when it comes to condos. It's also, from what I've heard, quite difficult to get to look at the books and records even after one has bought a condo. Shouldn't be, but apparently is.
The 'devi' is, as I think I've said before ... always hidden in the details.

I will be very surprised if California law and/or that condominium association Declaration and/or Bylaws do not allow unit owners the right to examine the books and records of the association. A "proper purpose" is often the requirement, but in most cases that should be easy to explain - particularly for the basic financial statement information. Information regarding owners who are in arrears, specific unit information, could be withheld, however, if the association is involved in current, pending or anticipated legal action. But a financial statement will likely have a dollar amount listed for bad debts/arrears.

There are associations which are headed by dictatorial Presidents who may try to impede an owner from obtaining documents and if someone runs into that situation they should write a letter including their request to 1) the manager/management company, 2) the Board of Directors, and 3) provide a copy to the association legal counsel.

As for prospective buyers: associations I'm familiar with oftentimes do not provide copies of the Declaration, Bylaws, rules and regulations or financial statements, or answer specific association questions until such time as an offer to purchase a unit has been accepted by the selling unit owner and the prospective buyer has that certain window of opportunity (maybe 7-14 days) to have the unit inspected, finalize financing and complete due diligence (review association documents). A competent real estate agent understands how these things work and should assist the buyer - as well as the buyer's attorney who will handle the closing of the purchase who should understand the regulations. Oftentimes, I think people try to cut corners and do things themselves without advice from people who are experienced in such matters (RE agent, attorney) and, in the end, they would have been better off paying a few $$ more to have had that done.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:01 AM
 
741 posts, read 642,464 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
Keep in mind that 'condo' is a type of ownership, not a type of structure.
My SFH is in a condominium structured community.
Almost all the benefits and all the responsibilities are the same as a detached single family house anywhere.
In Illinois, there are two "condominium" laws: one for multi-unit dwellings and one for townhomes. Your situation would probably fall into the townhome category, given your description. The laws are similar. The term "Condominium" is, here in Illinois, understood to mean an apartment in a multi-unit building. People will say, "I have a condo," or "I own a condo." People really do consider it a type of structure, even though the structure may be just within 4 walls of a building with a couple of hundred other '4 walled' units. But you're right when you say that the responsibilities in a townhome associaiton and condominium association are similar ... here in Illinois, that is.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:04 AM
 
741 posts, read 642,464 times
Reputation: 576
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
People should check the laws in various states about what maintenance/repair obligations an association has - and what the owners' obligations are. They vary. And - here in Florida - the legislature changes the boundaries from time to time. Robyn
Yes, states, and some cities, have condominium statues/regulations which vary thorughout the country. And the rules/laws can change from year-to-year. Sometimes it's just a 'tweaking' of a section of the statute and at other times it's more stringent. We've had some fire safety city ordinances which have required our building to spend several hundred thousand dollars in upgrades, and also a new bed bug ordinance which requires certain actions in specific time periods. Some associations are good about communicating changes to their members/owners while others assume we're clarvioant and can figure it all out ourselves.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:09 AM
 
741 posts, read 642,464 times
Reputation: 576
Quote:
Originally Posted by ackmondual View Post
SFH vs. condos vs. renting pretty much boils down to your age, point in your career, family situation (single, married, with kids), what area you're in. If you don't do your research in any of them, you can get burned.
In the building where I live I've had the opportunity to interact with most if not all new owners. At some point in the conversations I ask why they chose our building and why they were buying a condominium. Without exception, and amongst all age groups - 21 to the 90s - people have responded that they bought because of the ease of ownership: someone else does the maintenance, if a problem within a unit occurs the management office can recommend repairmen, they can travel or leave for the Winter without worrying about their home, or becuse, in most of the instances ... buying the condo was less expensive than a single family home (and for the young couples just starting out their intention is to live in the condo for a limited number of years before buying a home for their growing family). We get a lot of newlyweds, middle-aged people downsizing who've sold a single family home and their children are now grown, to the old-aged mother who is moving back to Chicago from out of state, late in life ... to be close to her children who will take care of her but who, she, wants to live independently.
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